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Published: 03 January 2008
Genre: General & literary fiction
It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come...
Independent on Sunday
On Chesil Beach is more than an event. It is a masterpiece
Times Literary Supplement
Superb... The protagonists have everything to lose, and their faltering journey towards a point of no return is conjured into life my McEwan with irresistible subtlety, tact and force
Written with a fierce pursuit of the truth and an utterly modern self-awareness, what a confidant tour de force this turns out to be
How to describe this novel? Intense but quiet. Satisfying yet inconclusive. Beautiful and painful. It's the story of Edward and Florence on their honeymoon - how they came to be there - and their anxieties about their wedding night, their future, their places in society and their belief in their relationship. It's a very clever, very well observed meditation on our perception of love, sex and marriage.
On Chesil Beech is a written work of art. Ian McEwan is an extremely poetic writer, and paints the lovely coastal landscapes particularly well. His style lends itself to rural setting of this novel rather more than the crowded urban landscapes in Saturday.The plot of this novel is very quiet and subtle, focused entirely on the characters' relationship. The newly married couple interact with eachother and think about things, and the plot climaxes in an awkward moment which is both funny and tragic. McEwan is marmite. Some people will enjoy his writing very much, others will hate him. I find his gentle writing, subtle plots and neurotic characters at any length quite annoying. He is an undoubtably excellent writer who evokes strong emotional responses.
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View reading guide here.
Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of ...